A few years ago I gave a talk called ‘Stories: What Makes Them Good and Why They Matter’ along with my friend, Kareem Mortimore, an award-winning Bahamian film maker. Kareem talked about his process as a film maker and what he thought made a good story - an interesting narrative and a hero that the viewer finds compelling.
Our personal stories add meaning to our lives and provide a richer understanding of who we are. From a consumer–brand relationship perspective, stories based on the brand's narrative add meaning to the brand, helping us to understand it in more complex ways. If we find a brand with a compelling story that we identify with, it's easier to form an emotional connection and build a loyal relationship. And our choices of brands play a part in shaping our self-identity and how others perceive us. What makes a brand's story compelling is simple - authenticity.
One of the most effective ways to tell an authentic story is visually. Stories provide meaning without strictly defining the message. And images communicate in a similar way. Visual storytelling, once it is true to the brand, can tell us everything that we need to know - who is the brand, what is its heritage, does it share our values and more importantly, do we believe it?
A great example of a brand with an authentic and compelling story is Mini. This brand demonstrates its sense of humour and understanding of the lifestyle and values of its target market. And consumers identify with this story.
Just try to watch this Mini Cooper ad without feeling some kind of connection to the brand.
It’s been said that storytelling is the ‘universal human common denominator’ and I concur. As humans, we yearn for communication and relationships and storytelling is the great enabler. If only for a few moments, stories provide an authentic, common experience from which we consumers can create our own unique stories. This connection creates the type of heart-felt loyalty that marketers dream about.
I'm a strategic marketing communication consultant who works with premium brands to tell compelling brand stories, guide perception, drive engagement and build loyalty to win hearts and wallets. Find out more about me at www.royanndean.com, follow me on Twitter @royanndean and Linkedin.